Tuesday, March 22, 2016


While I was not reared in a home or a church that observed the Lenten season it has become a rich and profound experience for me during my adult years. I find it amusing that it wasn’t until I was led to New Thought spirituality and the Unity movement that I began to observe Lent. During the early years I always made it a point to give up something as a way of heightening my focus. My mentor and teacher Eric Butterworth always stressed that it was about a fasting from limiting and hurtful perceptions that was foundational to the practice. Yet I liked including something material just the same. In retrospect I see that it was easier to focus on giving up something tangible than it was something perceptual.

My practice of Lent has evolved dramatically throughout these almost thirty years. It has grown more and more precious and meaningful to me. I never think of giving up anything material anymore. Nor do I focus my attention on thoughts or perceptions that I want to rid me of. It is clear to me that resistance is never effective. As soon as I decide that something needs to go it grasps on and holds tight. It commands more and more attention, and fills my thought stream as a rushing river.

I have found that it is only in letting be that transformation ever occurs. Until I can create an internal context of acceptance, compassion, and love I inadvertently make of myself a war zone that only intensifies the experience of what I am fighting against. Fasting can be a helpful practice I am sure. But feasting my attention in and on a desired condition has always proven to be much more effective for me. While fasting conjures a feeling of willfulness at least for me a letting be and a gentle feasting of my attention in Source opens a feeling of willingness and receptivity. And I always get more of what I am focusing on, never less.

What I cannot be with will never let me be. The much used adage of Let Go and Let God seems a bit overactive to me. I have proven countless times in my life that my thoughts of what needs to go or what needs to stay in my consciousness have carried a rather pitiful batting average in terms of accuracy. When I can simply choose to let be there is an automatic opening that then serves as a channel for Spirit to move and have Its way. When I let be I tap into a Divine Flow that then orchestrates the Unfoldment of my highest good every time. And my faithfulness in this fool-proof process also allows me to remain at peace.

So I guess I am saying that for me Lent is all about letting be. As the word implies as I “lent be” there is a lengthening of attention in acceptance, peacefulness, and love. And that can only result in a rising up within.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

A Perspective On Hell

“Religion is for people who don’t want to go to hell. Spirituality is for people who have been there.”

I heard this quote long before it landed. When it did it changed my life.

I have lived from both perspectives. I was blessed to have brought up in an evangelical church. I frequently am confronted by people who rigorously reject their religious upbringing. I compassion the fight for it is one I have lived. I went through a painful and in retrospect a necessary relationship with my religious upbringing. I remember at an early age feeling the shame and remorse of being what I was told was a sinful and faulty human being. By the tender age of seven I had already taken on a sense of self that believed I was responsible for the crucifixion of a perfect and only son of God. This haunted me. Even after I had taken the steps the church told me were necessary to redeem myself I lived in a sense of fear, guilt, and dread. I tried so hard to be perfect. To make up for what I truly and deeply felt was an abominable self. Though I heard descriptions of a loving God they were obliterated by vivid pictures of hell, fire, and damnation.

I now know it was my religion that created my internal hell. >br>
It was also the path that led me to freedom. I no longer live with a sense of blame. I know now that my religious upbringing was what led me beyond it. It led me to question more, to dig deeper, to open wider, and to detach from a thought system I was here to transcend.

It was my own faulty sense of self that became my living hell. Darkness and depression shrouded me. I became obsessed and absorbed in the story of me. I hung upon the cross of my own self aversion, and it finally led to my conversion. When I stopped blaming my religious past I finally saw that it was a representation of a journey my Soul was guiding me to take. Religion led me to a new God and so to an expanded sense of Self. To a spirituality that is now steeped in love, compassion, and inclusivity. When I realized I had already survived my own internal hell I no longer feared been sent there. That realization has become my doorway to heaven.

Hell is the belief and identification with my own separate self-story. Heaven is the recognition that there is no separate self. Heaven is the remembrance that I am Sourced in a Love so vast and all inclusive that it is beyond what my mind can even conceive. Yet it is the Livingness that my heart embraces and unfolds.

I sometimes still fall into the pit of my own forgetfulness. I do not stay there long. The fires of my misperceptions burn and awaken me to the fact that I have gone unconscious. I realize I have once again sent myself into hell. This realization is my choice point and my entryway into heaven. I can stew in the story or I can choose to be lifted up and out.

In a very real sense it is hell that has led me to heaven. And grateful, indeed, am I.